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France reports more than 50,000 daily Covid cases

Cases have shot up as France heads into winter

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France reports more than 50,000 daily Covid cases
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Paris: France on Saturday said more than 50,000 people had tested positive for coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as Covid-19 cases rocketed despite millions receiving a vaccine booster shot.

The country recorded 51,624 new daily cases of Covid, health authorities said.

France has recorded an average of almost 41,000 new cases a day over the past week, compared to less than 28,000 a week ago.

Some 694 people had been admitted to hospital in the past 24 hours, including 119 who were critically ill.

The coronavirus killed 113 people over the same period.

Cases have shot up as France heads into winter.

Health Minister Olivier Veran has for the moment ruled out a lockdown, but urged all adults in the country of 67 million to sign up for a third Covid vaccine jab by mid-January.

"Ten million French people have gotten a booster jab to maintain their protection against Covid," he wrote on Twitter.

After January 15, residents aged 18 to 64 will have to show proof of a top-up vaccine no more than seven months after the second dose to maintain a valid Covid pass, which is required to enter restaurants, bars, gyms and other public venues.

In total, 119,457 people have died of Covid in France since the start of the pandemic.

 

SOURCE: AFP

Siddra Sumreen

Syeda Siddra has been working as a web journalist for over the past seven years. She earned her M.Phil degree in Mass Communication from the Lahore Leads University. Ms. Siddra has previously worked with other renowned channels and is now associated with GNN as Senior Content Writer.

Business

Increase in US rates could ‘throw cold water’ on global economic recovery: IMF chief

"Higher US interest rates could make it more expensive for countries to service their dollar-denominated debt"

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Increase in US rates could ‘throw cold water’ on global economic recovery: IMF chief

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has said that interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve could “throw cold water” on already weak economic recoveries in certain countries.

Georgieva, speaking via videoconference at The Davos Agenda virtual event on Friday, said an increase in US rates could have significant implications for countries with higher levels of dollar-denominated debt.

She said it was therefore “hugely important” that the Fed was clearly communicating its policy plans to prevent surprises. Higher US interest rates could make it more expensive for countries to service their dollar-denominated debt.

On a panel moderated by CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore, Georgieva said the IMF’s message to countries with high levels of dollar-denominated debt was: “Act now. If you can extend maturities, please do it. If you have currency mismatches, now is the moment to address them.”

She added that her biggest concern is for low income countries with high levels of this debt, highlighting that two-thirds were now either in “debt distress” or in danger of falling into it — that’s twice as many as in 2015.
‘Losing some momentum’

The IMF expects the global economic recovery to continue, Georgieva said, but stressed that it was “losing some momentum.”

As such, she suggested that a New Year’s resolution for policymakers should be “policy flexibility.”

“2022 is like navigating an obstacle course,” she said, given risks such as rising inflation, the Covid-19 pandemic and high debt levels. The IMF warned in December that global debt hit $226 trillion in 2020 — the largest one-year rise since World War II.

With regards to inflation, Georgieva stressed that the problem is country specific. Prices are rising at startling speeds in a number of countries: euro zone inflation hit a record high of 5% in December, the U.K. inflation rate hit a 30-year high in the same month and the U.S. consumer price index rose at its fastest pace since June 1982.

“That country specificity is what makes 2022, in a way, even more difficult than 2020,” Georgieva said.

“In 2020, we had similar policies everywhere because we were fighting the same problem — an economy in standstill. In 2022, conditions in countries are very different, so we cannot anymore have the same policy everywhere, it has to be country specific and that makes our job in 2022 so much more complicated.”

SOURCE: CNBC

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Pakistan

Public to interact with PM Imran via live phone calls on Jan 23

Imran Khan would take people into confidence regarding measures adopted by government for their betterment

Published by Faisal Waqas

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Public to interact with PM Imran via live phone calls on Jan 23

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan will receive direct phone calls from general public during a programme "Aap Ka Wazir-e-Azam" approximately at 1500 hours on Sunday (January 23).

This was announced by Adviser to Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill on Friday. 

In a tweet, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill said the Prime Minister will listen to the complaints and opinions of the people and will inform them about different initiatives taken by the government.

Taking to Twitter, Shahbaz Gill said that the prime minister will take direct calls from the general public on January 23 at 3:00 pm. “Imran Khan will receive complaints and suggestions from the general public,” he said.

The adviser further shared that the prime minister would take people into confidence regarding the measures adopted by the government for their betterment.

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World

EU re-establishing ‘minimal presence’ in Kabul

Embassy is being opened after five months

Published by Faisal Waqas

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EU re-establishing ‘minimal presence’ in Kabul

The European Union on Thursday announced it had begun re-establishing a “minimal presence” in Kabul to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.

“Our minimal presence in Kabul must not in any way be seen as recognition” of the Taliban government there,” EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano said in a statement. 

“This has also been clearly communicated to the de facto authorities,” he added.

Afghanistan is in the grip of a humanitarian disaster, worsened by the Taliban takeover in August that prompted Western countries to freeze international aid and access to billions of dollars worth of assets held abroad.

The country was almost entirely dependent on foreign aid under the previous US-backed government, but jobs have dried up and most civil servants haven’t been paid for months.

No country has yet recognised the Taliban, with most watching to see how the hardline Islamists -– notorious for human rights abuses during their first stint in power -– restrict freedoms.

Shortly before Stano made his comments, an Afghan foreign ministry spokesman said on Twitter that the EU was reopening “an embassy” with “a permanent presence in Kabul” for the first time in five months. 

Stano said in the statement “the EU has started to re-establish a minimal presence of international EU Delegation staff to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and monitor the humanitarian situation”.

The international community is waiting to see how the Taliban Islamic fundamentalists intend to govern Afghanistan, after having largely trampled on human rights during their first stint in power between 1996 and 2001. 

While the Taliban claim to have modernised, women are still largely excluded from public employment and secondary schools for girls remain largely closed.

Several countries, including China. Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Iran have kept their embassies in Kabul open since the Taliban victory last year, but have not formally recognised their government.

Western diplomats began to evacuate their personnel in the first half of 2021, when American troops began operations to withdraw permanently from Afghanistan. 

The withdrawal culminated at the end of August with the chaotic evacuation of 120,000 people following the Taliban’s lightning conquest of the country.

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